The Emergence of Web 3.0
You might be wondering what Web 3.0 is… and when Web 1 and 2 came and went. In this article, we’ll break down what on earth Web 3.0 actually is, and shed some light on the potential benefits that it can bring. In the past few decades, centralization has successfully assisted billions of people to access the World Wide Web and even helped to create a robust and stable infrastructure on which it exists. However, this has also empowered centralised entities to have significant control of the Web, enabling them to unilaterally make decisions on the things that should or shouldn't be allowed. This is a real dilemma, which is where Web 3.0 comes in. Rather than allowing large technology firms to monopolise the Web, Web 3.0 is focused on decentralisation, since it is created, operated and even owned by the users. The aim of Web3 is to shift the balance away from big corporations and put the power back in the hands of the people. But before we get too into that, how exactly did we get here in the first place?
30 September 2022
History of Web
Tim Berners-Lee was preoccupied with the development of protocols back in 1989 at CERN, Geneva and this would turn out to be the World Wide Web. The aim was to establish decentralized and open protocols that would enable information-sharing from any location on our planet. This first creation is now regarded as “Web 1.0” and it took place between 1990 and 2004. During this phase, there was almost no interaction between users and this explains why it was regarded as the “read-only web.”
Things got better with the emergence of Web 2.0 in 2004 which ushered in social media platforms. So, rather than a read-only web, the web turned out to be a read-write platform. Well, large corporations did not just create content for users, they also started creating platforms where they can engage in user-to-user communications and share user-generated content too. Unfortunately, as more users gained access to the internet, major corporations also started controlling a disproportionate amount of traffic as well as the value that was generated on the web. It is also during this Web 2.0 era that an advertising-driven model of revenue generation emerged. Users were free to create content but they are not allowed to own it or even enjoy any benefit from its monetization.
Although we are still in the era of Web 2.0, experts now believe that we are about to enter the era of Web 3.0. The term Web 3.0 was initially coined by Gavin Wood, a co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain.
So, what is Web 3.0?
A popular post on Twitter summarized what Web3 means:
Web1 was read-only, Web2 is read-write, Web3 will be read-write-own.
It is simply the read/write/own era of the Internet. The term Web3 is now seen as the word for the vision of a new and improved internet. It makes use of cryptocurrencies, blockchains and NFTs to give power back to users. Here are the core principles that guide the creation of Web3 include:
· It is trust-less and functions using economic mechanisms and incentives instead of depending on trusted intermediaries.
· It is decentralized instead of the web being owned and controlled by centralized organizations. Those who own it are its users and builders.
· Web3 has its payment system where cryptos are spent or sent to other users instead of depending on the outdated and centralized infrastructure of payment processors and other financial institutions.
· It is permissionless so every user enjoys equal access to get involved in Web3.
Benefits of Web3
· Ownership of Data or Information: With Web3, the end-users can now take full ownership and control of their data and enjoy the security of encryption. Their data can only be shared on a case-by-case or need/permission basis.
· Decentralization: With a decentralized internet, there will also be no central point of control. Data on blockchains such as Ethereum are fully encrypted and this helps to eliminate intermediaries so governments and corporations like Google, Apple and Facebook will no longer have control of people's data.
· Access to Information: With Web 3.0, people can now have access to data from any location around the globe as long as they have a smartphone and cloud applications.
· Uninterrupted Service: Issues such as denial of distributed services and also the suspension of accounts will be drastically reduced with Web3. This is because decentralization ensures that no single point of failure exists.
· Permissionless Blockchain: With permissionless blockchains, users will no longer have restrictions based on orientation, gender, income, geography and other limitations.
· Transparency: Users of Web 3.0 can easily monitor their data and the source code of any platform they choose to use. There will not be a need to depend on third parties to access this data.
· Personalized Web Surfing: Users can enjoy a more personalized internet experience because websites can understand their preferences better.
Drawbacks of Web3
Just like everything else on earth, Web 3.0 also has its drawbacks:
· The core technologies that power Web3 are machine learning, AI and blockchain and this makes it difficult for less advanced devices to handle Web 3.0. Those who will use Web3 may have to get a more sophisticated device.
· Beginners will find it a bit more difficult to understand too.
· Decentralization will most likely make it hard for the relevant agencies to monitor and regulate Web3 and this could lead to an increase in cybercrimes.
· Web 3.0 will also make Web 1.0 websites outdated which means that they would require an upgrade.
With the emergence of Web3, the internet will increasingly become an integral aspect of our daily lives. Web 3.0 is still a very new and evolving ecosystem and as we continue to witness an increase in the popularity and adoption of key components of Web 3.0 such as blockchain, IoT, cryptocurrency, AI and machine learning, a better Internet will be realized soon.